Food Topics Health Trends

Change in the House of Food: The Upcoming Changes to the Nutrition Panel

A brief run-down of what changes to the food label the FDA is implementing soon.

There are some changes happening with the nutrition panel.  You know, that thing on the back of foods that you might or might not look at, depending on how much you care (or how much you want to scare yourself with some foods).  These changes come from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), citing things like updated research, better links between food and chronic disease, and easier readability.

Some of the changes include bolding the amount of Calories per serving, and removing the Calories from Fat information.  Labels still need to put fat content on the label, but research shows the type of fat matters more than the amount of Calories from eating it.  Instead of being required to list vitamins A and C on food labels, manufacturers are now required to put vitamin D and potassium on the label.  The amount of added sugars is also being listed, as it has been found that excess sugar consumption can make it difficult to reach nutrient goals.  Below is a picture highlighting the relevant information:


© US Food and Drug Administration 2016

The label is also changing the serving size of many foods.  The serving size is now being based off of what people actually eat, rather than what manufacturers think people should eat.  This means some packages that are typically eaten in one sitting are now listed as one serving.  Other packages might have multiple columns; one showing per reference serving, and one showing per package.  To make sense of this, the serving size of soda is going up from 8 oz. to 12 oz.  A 20 oz. bottle would be labeled as one serving, because it is less than two servings.  A 24 oz. bottle would be dual columned, one for the 12 oz. serving, and one for the whole bottle, since people often consume this in one sitting.  Again, below is a picture from the FDA detailing the changes:


© US Food and Drug Administration 2016

So, when can people expect this change to happen?  In July 26th, 2018, food manufacturers that make more than 10 million in sales are required to update to the new label, whereas those who make less than 10 million have until 2019 to comply.

So what do you guys think?  Is this change a beneficial one, a negative one, or something in between?

For more information check out the FDA website here.

By The Nutrition Punk

I am a dietitian living in Portland, Oregon. I write about a variety of nutrition and heath topics, with the goal of improving people's understanding of food and nutrition so they may be empowered against all the misinformation that is out there.

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